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Offering WiFi access to guests in your home is a given for most people.
But handing out the password to your home network (or leaving your home network open and password free) brings some unnecessary risk. You never know how much snooping your guests might try if given the chance.
The solution to this is setting up a guest WiFi network.
Doing so allows guests to share your Internet connection without gaining access to your networked devices. Some routers even allow you to set bandwidth limits or content restrictions on your guest network. In short, a guest network gives you greater control and security.
Here’s a quick guide on how to set one up.
First, check your router
Your first step is to check the user documentation that came with your wireless router. Not all models have this capability.
Look for a “Guest Network” in your router’s configuration manual. Other names for this include “guest zone” and “guest access”.
If you don’t see anything that sounds similar, it’s time to upgrade. Look for a router that advertises a guest network feature on the box.
Instead of buying a new router, advanced users might experiment with hooking up a second router to the first or installing new firmware on their existing router. These are fine options for those with the skills, but if this guide is over your head, it’s better just to buy a new router.
Once you have a capable router, it’s time to set up the guest network. This guide is designed to give you a general idea of the steps necessary, but every router model is different. For best results, consult your user documentation alongside this guide.
Steps for setting up a guest wifi network
- Log in to your router using your administrator credentials. (The default credentials are usually printed on the bottom or side of your router.) You can find out how to do this by looking at your router user manual or googling your router name. Generally, though, you’ll want to plug your computer directly into the router using a LAN cable and then type in the IP address listed in your documentation. Once logged in, find the option to toggle the guest network on, and switch it to the on position.
- Create or edit your guest network name. Your router may supply a new name, but you can change it to whatever you like. Just don’t use the same exact name (or SSID) as your main network. If your main network is KatiesHouse, then something like KatiesHouse-Guest will work great.
- If you want your guest network to be visible (and you almost always do), ensure that SSID broadcast is set to “on.” This is the default setting. If this is toggled off, devices won’t see your network and will have to be connected manually.
- Set up your guest network’s security settings and password. If you’re not sure about the various types of encryption, go with the default or first one (it’s likely the newest, most secure standard that your router can use). Set a memorable password that’s different from your home network password.
- Add any other limitations or advanced options that you want in place, such as limiting access to network devices (printers, etc.) or limiting how many devices can connect at once.
Using the guest network
After following these steps, using the guest network is as simple as connecting to it like you would any other WiFi network and entering the password.
Enabling a guest WiFi network is a safe, convenient way to offer Internet access to friends and guests. Follow this guide to set it up, and your guests will enjoy your hospitality that much more.